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Dollywood!

LintemuthStudios

Veteran Member
Nov 7, 2016
5,540
Riding Lightning Rod
I’ll be going to visit some family in Chattanooga in a few weeks and we plan to take a couple days to visit this park. I’ve never been before, any tips for a first timer, best rides to hit etc?
Hit Lightning Rod first. It seems like a bad idea to hit the first ride you come across when you enter the park early, but trust me if this thing breaks down (which happens often) it's done for the day. After that, hit Mystery Mine. Hold on tight to avoid headbanging. Try the cinnamon bread. Don't buy any merch at the back.
 
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Allomancer

Rookie
May 22, 2015
170
Hit Lightning Rod first. It seems like a bad idea to hit the first ride you come across when you enter the park early, but trust me if this thing breaks down (which happens often) it's done for the day. After that, hit Mystery Mine. Hold on tight to avoid headbanging. Try the cinnamon bread. Don't buy any merch at the back.
Awesome! Thanks so much. Do you mean don’t buy any merch at the back of the park?
 

kingcooger

Veteran Member
Feb 7, 2014
1,264
I’ll be going to visit some family in Chattanooga in a few weeks and we plan to take a couple days to visit this park. I’ve never been before, any tips for a first timer, best rides to hit etc?
One day for shows and one day for rides would be my first word of advice

The back park rides take a little while to fill, so we jumped up to Mystery Mine first, then Firechaser Express, and then Wild Eagle and got them all done relatively quickly. So quickly that we doubled up on Firechaser Express (which is a ton of fun).

I will note that Lightning Rod was down when we went, so we didn't have an option of riding that at all. If it had been open, that would have been stop one.
 

Freak

Veteran Member
Jan 10, 2013
4,616
No man's land: SoCal
I’ll be going to visit some family in Chattanooga in a few weeks and we plan to take a couple days to visit this park. I’ve never been before, any tips for a first timer, best rides to hit etc?
Funny you asked because I just hit up the park yesterday! I was getting ready to post a trip report, but I’ll share with you my experience of Lightning Rod to give you a good idea of what to do.

Also, this is my second time ever going to this park. My first time is when I visited last year to go on Lightning Rod. Low and behold, the ride goes under the knife for maintenance just a mere week before I arrive! WOMP WOMP.

Fast forward to July 20th (yesterday) when the ride is back open. Arrived at the park RIGHT at opening. Hit up Lightning Rod first thing. Unfortunately just 15 min into the queue, they evacuated the line because the ride was down and it would take a while. I leave and go on Blazing Fury and Tennessee Tornado next (Probably my second favorite coaster at the park). As soon as I get off of Tornado, I look at the Dollywood app (Which I STRONGLY recommend downloading to stay up to date with wait times), and read that the ride is OPEN.

I rush down the hill to Lightning Rod to get in line. 25 min in, they announce they shut the ride down and once again have to evacuate the queue. This is around noon-ish. At this point I’m getting a little frustrated because I’ve already cut out some time to try my one shot at this ride and it’s still not working. Disgruntled, I head back up the hill to go on Wild Eagle and Firechaser.

Now I’m really close to boarding Firechaser and I see that LR ride is now open again but with a 35 min wait! After I get off the ride, I rush down there, only to be greeted with a two hour wait. A little annoyed, but grateful just to go on the ride at this point. About 3/4 of the way in line, they make the announcement that they’re delaying the ride a little bit so they can take off a train, putting the ride down to ONE train. I’m sorry, but why on God’s green earth would you willfully decide to run one train ops on your flagship ride, which also happens to be your most unreliable ride? But no matter, we were just about there anyway.

After all of the hassle, I got to ride! That thing is a BEAST. It‘s a top 10 coaster for sure! If you love roller coasters, this is a must! It was worth all of the disappointment and struggles trying to ride. After I rode, The wait died down to 80 min. It remained open for the rest of the evening and the wait time kept going down the later it got.

So all of that to say, I would try Lightning Rod first, but be warned, despite the big overhaul, it’s still having a LOT of problems. If it breaks down and you have to leave, try again in the afternoon. I would just focus on the back of the park and go for Firechaser then Mystery Mine first. Those two rides have the worst capacity and get the longest lines. Then do Tennessee Tornado and Wild Eagle as they both have better capacity and Wild Eagle has EXCELLENT ops.

I know this is a long post, but last few tips: the rides close at 9 (or 9:30 because of the fireworks) since it’s peak season, so if you get there at opening, you should have plenty of time to do the rides you want to do and take everything in. The lines die down around 4 so everything else (at least when I went) were down to 20/30 min for everything else except Lightning Rod.

Oh, and if you don’t get cinnamon bread, you haven’t been to Dollywood. Just keep in mind the line can get up to 30 min, but they won’t run out. Just get the cinnamon bread! :lol:

I know that’s a lot, but hope this helps!
 

Allomancer

Rookie
May 22, 2015
170
Yes. It's lower quality and more expensive.
Noted! Will definitely avoid that, then. Thanks!

One day for shows and one day for rides would be my first word of advice

The back park rides take a little while to fill, so we jumped up to Mystery Mine first, then Firechaser Express, and then Wild Eagle and got them all done relatively quickly. So quickly that we doubled up on Firechaser Express (which is a ton of fun).

I will note that Lightning Rod was down when we went, so we didn't have an option of riding that at all. If it had been open, that would have been stop one.
Excellent, we do plan to go for a couple of days so that's excellent to know!

Funny you asked because I just hit up the park yesterday! I was getting ready to post a trip report, but I’ll share with you my experience of Lightning Rod to give you a good idea of what to do. >>
No, thank you so very much for the detailed write-up, I'm glad you had a good time! I'll absolutely download the app, and I can't forego the cinnamon bread now, no matter how long the wait is. :lol: I think I'll have us go for Firechaser and Mystery Mine first and just keep an eye out for Lightning Rod, I do love coasters so I'd love to give it a go. And I do plan to get there at opening. Thanks so much, that's really helpful!
 

shiekra38

Legendary Member
Dec 13, 2009
13,857
Florida
OMG I forgot to write a review for Dollywood, I went for the first time in June...It was a great park!
Top Coasters
1) Lightning Rod (Amazing)
2) Wild Eagle (the much maligned B&M wings are some of my favorites)
3) Tennessee Tornado (a HUGE surprise, smoothest Aarow I've ever ridden)
4) Thunderhead (wonderful wooden coaster, lotsa fun moments and a really fun fake out with how the track criss-crosses over itself)
5) Firechaser Express (great family ride, no effects though)
6) Mystery Mine (I wanted to love it...but dagum...why the hell am I getting headbanging going 15mph with no inversions? Back half was sooo fun though)

Overall park atmosphere is gorgeous

It's a quaint park nestled in the Smokies and it takes full advantage of it
 

Freak

Veteran Member
Jan 10, 2013
4,616
No man's land: SoCal
OMG I forgot to write a review for Dollywood, I went for the first time in June...It was a great park!
Top Coasters
1) Lightning Rod (Amazing)
2) Wild Eagle (the much maligned B&M wings are some of my favorites)
3) Tennessee Tornado (a HUGE surprise, smoothest Aarow I've ever ridden)
4) Thunderhead (wonderful wooden coaster, lotsa fun moments and a really fun fake out with how the track criss-crosses over itself)
5) Firechaser Express (great family ride, no effects though)
6) Mystery Mine (I wanted to love it...but dagum...why the hell am I getting headbanging going 15mph with no inversions? Back half was sooo fun though)

Overall park atmosphere is gorgeous

It's a quaint park nestled in the Smokies and it takes full advantage of it
Yes! I don’t see a lot of comments on how shockingly smooth this arrow looper is. Man, if Viper was that smooth, it would easily be one of my favorites at SFMM.

I rode Mystery Mine again when I went and, while not butter smooth, it was quite a bit improved from when I rode it last year. It’s still a little rough, but not awful.

But yeah, Dollywood is a great park. Awesome rides, fantastic food, beautiful theming and scenery.....one of my favorite parks, period.
 
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shiekra38

Legendary Member
Dec 13, 2009
13,857
Florida
Yes! I don’t see a lot of comments on how shockingly smooth this arrow looper is. Man, if Viper was that smooth, it would easily be one of my favorites at SFMM.

I rode Mystery Mine again when I went and, while not butter smooth, it was quite a bit improved from when I rode it last year. It’s still a little rough, but not awful.

But yeah, Dollywood is a great park. Awesome rides, fantastic food, beautiful theming and scenery.....one of my favorite parks, period.
It was the strangest thing to me, the slow front half was rougher than the last half

I almost would loose the final inversion if it meant they could install lapbars
 

Allomancer

Rookie
May 22, 2015
170
All of this is making me very excited to visit the park! Any standout foods besides the cinnamon bread? I really hope I manage to catch Lightning Rod on a good day.
 

Freak

Veteran Member
Jan 10, 2013
4,616
No man's land: SoCal
All of this is making me very excited to visit the park! Any standout foods besides the cinnamon bread? I really hope I manage to catch Lightning Rod on a good day.
Well the restaurant at the front entrance has some really good full service food (forget the name of it). But they serve really good roasted chicken, green beans, and mashed potatoes.

Oh and somewhere around the area where they serve the cinnamon bread, they also serve pulled pork fries.